Saturday, December 19, 2009

Getting Creative with Kids: Homemade Crayons

This is not a new idea, and I know that you probably have seen it, thought about it, or even tried it yourself. If you haven't for some reason, I'll let you in on the gift that the Little Miss is giving to her cousins for Christmas this year.

As I mentioned previously, Little Miss is a color-a-holic. I am not the only one privy to this information about her, and as a result she has been given hordes of crayons by family and friends. An especially big haul came after Kee-ku was born and so many well-wishers came bearing gifts for both of my kids to celebrate his arrival. With all the coloring that goes on in this house, there are bound to be some casualties of her craft. I happened to already have a fun ice cube tray from Ikea (probably others would work, but you would need to make sure they are silicone so they won't melt in your oven) and gobs of crayons bound for the crayon graveyard when I stumbled across this post. I think you could mix and match any way you want, but I elected to at least group them in color families so that I wouldn't end up with a bunch of brown little stars. After all, who wants to only color in brown?

I googled up different ways to make handmade crayons and this was by far the easiest. Another popular method included melting them in separate tin cans in your oven and pouring them into molds. Pshaw to that I say. Unless you have molds that can't stand the heat of the oven. However, if you have them, these Ikea trays work great for this project and cut out a whole step! I tried it for you first so you know I'm not just making it up because it sounds like it would work. You can easily do this on your own, but why not get your favorite little people in on the fun?

First preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Then get your little person to help you take all the wrappers off the broken crayon bits. Little Miss got bored with this part quite quickly so I ended up doing most of it. Here's what she was up to while I was going at the paper:  (This tiger has also been known to munch on baby carrots when Little Miss is around.)She got a bit more interested in the next part: breaking up the slightly larger pieces so they'll fit in your tray:Bake in 250 degree oven for about 20ish minutes. Just watch em. I was nervous the tray might melt so I put it on a foil lined cookie sheet. I don't know that it was necessary (I saw no evidence of anything melting other than the crayon pieces), but I did it anyway.

Per the previous post's mention, I popped them in the freezer to harden them up faster. Honestly, I don't know exactly how long they need to stay in there. With my first batch, I popped the first one out and it broke a bit, so I ran some warm water on the back of the tray to loosen things up and that seemed to help. With the second batch, I broke the first one I tried to pop out again, only this time after I ran the hot water over the bottom the second one busted too. I think they just weren't done hardening so I put them back in the freezer. Still waiting for that batch to be "done" completely.While I was setting the crayons in the freezer for the second time, I came across this post where I found some cute PDF printouts of little gift boxes. I didn't have any cardstock on-hand, but remembering that cut up file folders work in a pinch I printed them up and started assembling them:while Little Miss tested out the new product:
Success! Pair these little boxes with a coloring book or 2 and you've got some sweet little gifts that any creative little person would enjoy.


i am not December 19, 2009 at 3:25 PM  

My girls would LOVE these. Note to self: need ikea trays.

Skooks December 23, 2009 at 1:34 AM  

Currently all pictures being colored in our house are all shades of blue. Because I gave all the crayon stars away that came out intact and for some reason several of the blue ones broke so I let her keep them. She shuns all other colors for sake of the crayon stars. :P

Sammy December 26, 2009 at 3:23 PM  

Hey Skooks (I love that name and would love to know the story)--

I tried the melted crayon thing once and had a weird film on the crayon that kept there from being any color, just milky wax. Did you have this? Any suggestions? I have three bags of broken crayons that need new lives! That, and I'm dejunking, so I need to get rid of my crap (and wouldn't it be great to repurpose it!)

Skooks December 26, 2009 at 4:25 PM  

Hmm . . . I'm not sure what could have happened. Are you mixing crayons of all different kinds? Generally, we buy washable crayons so I think they were all similar. Some of those cheap-o crayons you get in an 8pk at a restaurant or such kinda suck at coloring to begin with and maybe poisoned some of your batch? How did you melt them? I'm asking all these questions realizing I probably am not really sure what I would say next if you were to answer them. :P Maybe I have a magic oven . . . you could bring them over to my house and I could try it here. LOL.

P.S. Check out my profile page under ABOUT ME. I put the story on the name in there. :)

P.P.S. Seriously, I'd melt your crayons for you if you wanted me to try.

Sammy December 30, 2009 at 8:18 AM  

I would love it if you would melt my crayons! I would even pay you! Also an excuse to see you and the sweet ones! what are you up to later this week? I'll send you a note later! Blessings! S

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